By the end of 2022, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System, or ETIAS, will be implemented by European authorities. The ETIAS will function as a visa waiver, allowing citizens from South Korea, as well as nationals of over 60 other countries, to visit the Schengen Area.
This electronic travel authorisation, can be applied for online, streamlining the process for applicants. This means South Korean nationals who hold a valid biometric passport will be able to apply for and receive the visa waiver from anywhere in the world.
Once granted, the ETIAS will be valid for up 90 days within a period of 180 days. If a traveller exits the Schengen Area before their allotted 90 days have been used and wishes to re-enter within 180 days, their ETIAS will still be valid.
Will South Korea citizens need visa for Europe?
No, South Koreans will not require a visa to visit any country in the Schengen Area.
Nationals of South Korea enjoy exemption from visa requirements for the European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries that make up Schengen.
From 2022, it will be necessary to register online with the ETIAS to enter the Schengen zone without a visa.
The ETIAS itself is not a visa. It is a travel authorisation or visa waiver. It is an additional entry requirement for visa-exempt passengers. It will allow South Korean visitors to avoid the lengthy process of applying for a visa at an embassy.
ETIAS requirements for South Korean citizens
Below, South Korean citizens can find a list of ETIAS requirements that each traveller must have in order to apply for the ETIAS:
- A South Korean (or other ETIAS approved country) machine-readable passport
- A credit or debit card to pay for the application fee.
- An active email address so that the decision on whether the waiver has been granted can be communicated.
Although the process of getting ETIAS will be fairly simple, it is critical that travellers double-check their applications. Any incorrect data, even if entered accidentally, could lead to the application being rejected.
The ETIAS application process for South Korean citizens
In addition to providing passport data and paying the fee, South Korean nationals will need to give additional points of data while filling out the ETIAS application.
- Personal information: South Koreans will need to provide basic information about themselves such as their full name, their date of birth, their place of birth, and their gender.
- Passport information: Korean visitors will be required to give their passport number, the country of issue, the date of validity, and the date of expiration.
- Contact details: In addition to the valid email address, travellers will also be required to provide an up-to-date address of residency and a valid phone number.
- Travel plans: Though it is not necessary to offer up an exact itinerary, applicants will be required to give their intended port of entry, as well as a rough outline of their intended travels.
Note: Additional information regarding medical history and criminal records may also be required
Authorities are currently projecting a 95% rate of approval. Once a decision has been made, authorities will send an email detailing their decision. In the event of an approved application, the South Korean traveller should print out a hard copy of their ETIAS and carry it with them while travelling.
Transport authorities in their port of departure may ask to verify that each traveller holds a valid ETIAS. Border authorities in the Schengen Area will also ask for the ETIAS program, alongside the valid passport, before South Korean nationals are granted entry into Europe.
Note: Border authorities have the final say over who gains entry into the Schengen Area. Simply holding an approved ETIAS does not guarantee entry.
If the application is rejected, an email detailing the reasons for the denial will be sent alongside instructions for how to make an appeal. The appeal process will be handled by the country where the traveller intended to initially enter.
Why the Need for ETIAS?
For any travellers curious about why the Schengen nations are adopting a stricter visa policy, the answer can be boiled down to one thing: safety.
With the implementation of the program, European authorities will have a better handle on exactly who is entering their countries and will be able to better secure their borders.
Following an increase in the number of terrorist incidents within larger cities across the continent, the European Commission voted to implement the ETIAS program in November of 2016.
Although it may appear to some to be an extra step, authorities believe that the visa waiver system will be an efficient and secure way to screen travellers. The ETIAS will ultimately ensure a safer Europe for all of its citizens as well as any tourists wishing to visit the continent.
Foreign nationals should note that ETIAS is not a visa. It is simply an electronic travel authorisation that will screen a traveller’s data to grant entry to the Schengen Area.